Nebraska officials release statement after B1G denied request to play nonconference game
Multiple reports Thursday morning indicated that Nebraska had an agreement with the University of Tennessee Chattanooga to play Saturday afternoon, in lieu of the Huskers cancelled game with Wisconsin.
But the Big Ten rejected the proposal.
Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos and chancellor Ronnie Green confirmed in a statement that they did “explore the possibility of securing a non-conference game” for Saturday. They also indicated that discussions with teams that “had already implemented stricter testing protocols than those mandated by the Big Ten” were considered.
According to a report from ESPN, UTC had tested all of its players and staff on Wednesday and all returned negative results. The plan included further testing once the Chattanooga team arrived in Lincoln, but due to the league’s decision that plan was cancelled.
Nebraska officials said they “respect” the Big Ten’s decision to not approve the game.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and well-being of our Nebraska student-athletes has been our top priority, and we know Wisconsin is operating with the same guiding principle. We wish all of those impacted in the Wisconsin program a quick and full recovery from the virus.
“With the cancellation of the game against Wisconsin, we did explore the possibility of securing a non-conference game for Saturday. The discussions we had were with teams that had already implemented stricter testing protocols than those mandated by the Big Ten Conference. Those details were non-negotiable if we were to bring a non-conference opponent to Lincoln.
“At Nebraska, we will always make decisions based on what is best for our student-athletes, and to provide them with the best possible experience during their college careers. To this point, the young men in our program have worked hard to prepare for the football season and have made the necessary sacrifices in order to play in this unusual environment. With an already shortened season, we owed it to our student-athletes to explore any possible option to play a game this week.
“We believe the flexibility to play non-conference games could have been beneficial not only for Nebraska, but other Big Ten teams who may be in a similar position as the season progresses. The ability for all Big Ten members to play a non-conference game if needed could provide another data point for possible College Football Playoff and bowl consideration.
“Ultimately, the Big Ten Conference did not approve our request, and we respect their decision. We are excited to move forward with preparations for the rest of the season, beginning with next week’s game at Northwestern.”